Cancer survival in Victoria climbs to record high

Sunday 18 December, 2011

Almost 2 in 3 Victorians diagnosed with cancer survive beyond five years, according to a report released by Cancer Council Victoria today.

Cancer in Victoria: Statistics and Trends 2010, an annual report produced by the Victorian Cancer Registry, shows that while the number of cancer diagnoses is projected to increase in the next three years, five-year cancer survival has increased from 47% to a record high of 64% in the period from 1985 to 2009.

The report also notes a steady decline in death rates since 1982, with average annual falls of 1.3% for men and 1.1% for women. These improvements reflect earlier detection through screening, falling tobacco-caused cancer for males and improvements in cancer treatments.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Mr Todd Harper, said declining death rates and improving survival highlight how much progress we are making in the fight against cancer, but he warned there is still much work to be done.

"In 2010, a total of 28,363 Victorians were diagnosed with cancer, compared with 28,314 diagnoses in 2009. However, largely due to the combined effects of population growth and ageing, we project the number of Victorians diagnosed with cancer will exceed 32,000 by 2013, an increase of about 16%."

"This growth in diagnoses will place an increasing responsibility on governments and organisations like Cancer Council Victoria to provide information and support services to the growing number of cancer patients, as well as their families and friends."

"The good news is that we are clearly getting better at treating, detecting and preventing cancer and the statistics underscore the need to continue to invest in research and education programs, to further develop our knowledge and educate the community about how they can reduce their risk of cancer."

Cancer Council Victoria has been collecting data on cancer incidence and mortality since it was established in December 1936. During this time, the Cancer Council has developed and implemented a range of successful public education and patient support programs, and allocated over $200 million in today's dollars for research to improve our understanding on the prevention and treatment of cancer.

"These contributions would not have been possible without the support of the Victorian community and through their support, we have been able to make enormous inroads into the detection and prevention of cancer and the ways in which we care for and treat people," Mr Harper said.

The Victorian Cancer Registry, which is funded by the State Government, the Victorian Cancer Agency and Cancer Council Victoria, provides comprehensive cancer statistics to Victorian hospitals, clinicians, researchers and government.